Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Larry Kasdan - The New (Old) Hope?


Word spread quickly through the Star Wars fan community that writer/director Lawrence Kasdan had been tapped to work on future Star Wars installments. While it is not clear whether he will be directly involved with the sequel trilogy, it is the latest encouraging development in the much anticipated return of Star Wars. But why, you ask?

Kasdan came to the attention of Lucas after Spielberg purchased his original screenplay for Continental Divide. That led to his being hired to write The Empire Strikes Back in the wake of Leigh Brackett's death, and shortly thereafter (after several days of story conferences with Lucas and Spielberg) his masterful work on Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Based on his work on those two films alone, I'd take Kasdan on any future Star Wars installment in any writing capacity we can get him. Sure, I'd prefer that he be involved with any films dealing with the main characters we know and love (as many of the most memorable exchanges between those characters were his), but beggars can't be choosers.

And in terms of his ability to balance action and drama, one need look no further than this fan's favorite film of all-time. Raiders of the Lost Ark is unparalleled in bridging major action set pieces with richly developed good and evil characters. What more could you ask of from a new Star Wars film?

Only time will tell if Kasdan is given the opportunity to provide us with more Star Wars tales on par with those we know and love from the OT, but in the mean time, forgive those of us who choose to celebrate like Ewoks drumming on empty Stormtrooper buckets.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


So, less than 48 hours in since the announcement that new Star Wars films were on the horizon, and there's already been loads of speculation as to when the sequel trilogy will take place, and which existing characters will appear in them. 

For some, it's clear that the films should follow the blueprint laid out in the expanded universe (EU) of novels/comics/stories set in the period following Return of the Jedi. I think the odds of the plots for the sequel trilogy coming out of existing material to be next to nil, and frankly I think that's the correct approach. The idea of future Star Wars films being a retread of existing material just doesn't seem like a  possibility to me. Part of the excitement is not knowing exactly what direction the stories might take, and so adapting existing stories, even with changes, would prove to be anticlimactic. 

As for whether we'll see Han, Luke, and Leia? If I had my way, these new films would be set far enough in the future so as to remove the necessity of the original cast returning, with the one exception. I can envision a cameo from a wise, old Luke Skywalker. But beyond that, I'll tell you who I'm open to seeing in the sequel trilogy.

The Droids. Yep. George often spoke of C-3PO and R2-D2 as being the connecting threads present throughout the nine (or twelve, depending on the interview) film run of the Star Wars saga. It makes perfect sense, regardless of the timeline of the films. I also think there's room for Chewbacca to show up in some way, shape or form, but I'd rather not see characters from the original trilogy forced in just to satisfy fan interest (this means you, Boba Fett). I'd much rather have new, fresh stories based primarily around new characters who may or may not be descendants of the characters we know.

But at the end of the day, it's anyone's guess. Perhaps Han Solo and Leia Organa will be integral to the plot. Who knows. Something got Carrie Fisher on a Jenny Craig-kick. Maybe it was the thought of having to step back into the metal bikini.

Let me know where you think things are headed. We'll check back in a few years to see who was right.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coming Soon to Your Galaxy...

I am a Star Wars fan. Have been for more than 35 years. I will die a Star Wars fan (quite a while from now, I hope).

But what makes me a Star Wars fan? In the immortal words of Luther Heggs, let me clarify this. I love the films. The original trilogy (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and yes, even Return of the Jedi) are among my all-time favorites. And I enjoy the prequel trilogy, too (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith). While there was little chance of those films providing the same awe-inspiring experiences that the originals I grew up with had, I do believe they each has its shining moments—be it great John Williams music, amazing visual effects, or the best lightsaber fight choreography of all six films. 

As we stray further from the films that make up the Star Wars saga, my love for all things Star Wars begins to fade. There is certain merchandise I can't live without, and you'd probably be surprised to hear there's a lot that just doesn't interest me at all. I'm an avid collector of the comics, but to be honest I haven't read a current run in quite a while. I enjoy aspects of the Clone Wars, but it's all too often hit or miss for me. As for the rest of the expanded universe (novels, games, etc), I have experienced such a small fraction that I really can't comment on the overall quality of them, but it does give you a pretty clear idea as to my overall interest in them.

So how is it, as a 42 year-old first generation theater-going Star Wars fan (Class of '77, baby!), that I am so excited by the prospect of new Star Wars films? 

Because I thought for sure I saw my last trailer for a Star Wars film in the fall of 2004, and believed I had seen my last opening crawl to the fanfare of John Williams in the summer of 2005. And as of today, I know that's no longer true. And the idea thrills me.

I think these new films that will make up the sequel trilogy (Episodes VII, VIII and IX) will have sufficient separation from the original films, relieving them of the baggage that that prequels were burdened with.

So I started SequelTrilogy.com to chart my own personal view of the development and release of these films. I hope to find like-minded individuals, who if nothing else are interested in chatting about this surprise gift of more Star Wars theatrical experiences.

I think we're in for one heck of a ride, and I cannot wait to see what Lucasfilm does, under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, to bring Star Wars back to the big screen where it belongs.